As the holiday season launches with the arrival of Thanksgiving later this week, let’s think about what it really means to communicate at the holiday table. Really communicating — not texting or Facebooking or Twittering. Let’s all remember to respect the family dining experience – especially when seated at a holiday table with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, as well as parents and siblings or friends.
Take time to enjoy each other…
In this day of doing everything on the run, let’s take the time to really enjoy the time with family and friends while preserving the memories of special moments for years to come. It should be a time to talk to each other and share conversation in a relaxed fashion. This means adults and kids alike, put away the video games, phones and iPads for an afternoon or evening and focus on the people around you. There is plenty of time to play games, text and Facebook with friends during the rest of the year, but holidays are for family and close friends to interact by talking, laughing, sharing stories and memories while enjoying good food and fun. Let’s take the time to really be thankful for each other by showing it.
- Get everyone involved in the day by helping with the meal or serving drinks.
- Have the younger kids make placecards for the dining table.
- Plan an activity or game that gets everyone involved. I especially like the “Ask Me Anything” at this link.
And this way of reacting to each other shouldn’t be reserved for holidays alone, but it seems in our fast-paced lives, this is often the only time we have to be together without the pressures of work and other responsibilities. So enjoy the rest of this holiday season and make sure you set the example and teach the younger members of the family what real memories are about. Today’s electronics will be long forgotten when the next new gadget or version comes along, but real family times and memories will last forever.
What ideas can you come up with to help your family interact during the holidays? Share them with me by leaving a comment. I’d love to hear from you!
Chicks with Cans took the lead with the most food contributions again this year!
St. Augustine Record column – November 5, 2011
Check out the latest about what’s going on in Flagler County. Thanks for reading and click on the link above to visit this week’s update!
Thanks to Cindy Dalecki of Marketing2Go for the picture here!
Today is World Blog Action Day and it’s all about food. I am sure that many of my blogging colleagues will write about the challenges of feeding the hungry people of the world. We are all aware of the crisis worldwide – especially in third world countries where each day is a struggle to get enough food.
But I am taking the cause a little closer to home. Right here in the flourishing US of A we have those among us that are not sure how they will feed their families. During this difficult economic time, we find people out of work, losing their homes and also being hungry in our own American backyards.
Food for all....
According to Feeding America, hunger is a major concern for many Americans:
- In 2010, 48.8 million Americans, or 14.5 percent of households, were food insecure
- In 2009, 8.0 percent of seniors living alone (925,000 households) were food insecure
- Food insecurity exists in every county in America
- In 2010, 4.8 percent of all U.S. households (5.6 million households) accessed emergency food from a food pantry one or two times during the year.
- In 2010, 59.2 percent of food-insecure households participated in at least one of the three major Federal food assistance programs –Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamp Program), The National School Lunch Program, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. Source: FeedingAmerica.org
These statistics may startle some because we are often lost in our own set of problems. But sometimes we have to look outside of the box that is our own world and look at the plight of others.
You might ask yourself, “What can I do?”
Look in your community. Across America t here are efforts to feed those in stress. In my community we have an annual Thanksgiving week dinner that is open to all. Team Feed Flagler is comprised of government, civic and religious leaders that have come together to host an annual Community Thanksgiving Celebration offering food and fellowship to all in our area, but it goes further than that. In addition to preparing the dinner and feeding the community, food boxes are prepared and are distributed to those that have a need. Both monetary donations and food donations are being taken now. For my local readers, here is a list of drop-off points for non-perishable food donations:
- Flagler County Government Services Building
- Palm Coast City Hall
- Flagler County Chamber of Commerce
- Palm Coast Community Center
- PNC Banks in Palm Coast (until 11/5)
- Town of Beverly Beach Town Hall
- Staffed fire stations countywide
But this dinner fills a need just once a year. The rest of the year the food banks in our area are constantly providing food assistance to those that need it. Our list of food banks includes 14 churches and other locations that are continually accepting donations and distributing food to those that need it. Check out the food banks in your area and try to donate, not just at Thanksgiving time, but throughout the year. People are hungry every day of the year across the nation and the world. If you can help, please do. Visit any of these sites to see how you can help not only in your community, but across the nation and the world.
World BankWorld Food ProgrammeFeeding America
Wear Your Pink!
Click the title above to read my column in The Record.
Are you wearing pink this month? October has been designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and chances are you’ll see pink everywhere. Even our local post office is covered with pink balloons as well as the familiar pink ribbon commemorating this cause. Pink is definitely in the air. Visit The Pink Army or the American Cancer Society to learn more.
Here are a few facts that may encourage you to get on board with the cause:
- Worldwide, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women
- In 2010 approximately 1.6 million new cases of breast cancer occurred among women worldwide
- 12% of American women will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in their lives
According to the Susan G. Konen organization, breast cancer rates around the world vary tremendously. Often developed countries have higher rates than developing countries. This may be due to many factors, including lifestyle and reproductive trends. The Konen organization is the leader in the “pink cause” having spent $1.9 billion plus since it was founded nearly 30 years ago. When you visit this site, you will learn so much about the fight that is going on every day worldwide as well as a little bit about the courageous woman named whose fight and memory started this great organization.
This week, I share with you just a few things that our community does to raise awareness and raise funds for the “pink cause.” Click on the title above or the link below to read about this and other things going on in the place I call home – Flagler County.
Palm Coast Neighbors: Breast cancer awareness brings out pink | StAugustine.com.
Christine Speno: Learn about your Flagler County government services | StAugustine.com.
Those of you that follow me in this blog or through the St. Augustine Record know that I get excited about our community. This week’s column demonstrates an important effort by our community leaders to give the citizens the opportunity to learn about how our local government entities work. We are often quick to criticize and complain. But it is important to take the time to ask questions and learn. The Citizens’ Academies available in my community are tools that we are given so we can learn and expand our knowledge base. I know that after my husband and I attended the Palm Coast Citizens’ Academy a few years ago, we came away from the sessions with a much broader understanding of what it takes to make things run smoothly. And we got to know many of our city’s department heads. My husband works in County government (in another county) and even he learned a lot and gained some new perspectives.
Although we won’t always be happy with all of the decisions made by our community leaders, by trying to understand the reasons for the decisions, we take the first step in working together with them. So what can you do?
- Attend your city or county council meetings
- Listen to our leaders and speak up when you have the chance.
- Get to know your council members. Email them or call them. They want to hear from you and want to know what you want.
- Get involved. Think about serving on an advisory board.
- If your community offers a Citizens’ Academy, apply, attend and learn.
- Consider running for a local government council — you may be able to change things that you believe could be done better.
If you are a Flagler County resident and want to learn more about the inner-workings of your community government, here is your opportunity. And don’t forget that you can attend any County Board meeting to learn and listen too. You can also view the meetings live on Channel 198 on Brighthouse and will find a link to Flagler County Government TV programming on the homepage of the county website.
To learn more about the Flagler County Citizens Academy and other county activities and issues, visit www.flaglercounty.org. The Flagler County Sheriff’s office and the City of Palm Coast also offer a Citizens’ Academy to local residents. Visit http://www.myfcso.us/citizens-academy.aspx to learn about the Sheriff’s Office program or contact Marsha Lidskin at the City of Palm Coast at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about the city’s program.
I’ll be sharing more about my experience in the Flagler County Citizens’ Academy in the weeks to come. I’ll be adding a page to my blog devoted to the academy so watch for it soon. I hope you’ll stay turned and learn with me!
No matter where you live, remember that it is your community. Don’t be afraid to get involved or learn more about how things work. What does your community do to promote citizen involvement? Leave me a comment and share with our readers.
Read this week’s column by clicking on the title above or the link below. You’ll also find news of some upcoming events in our area. As always, thanks for reading!
Link to this week’s column.
Christine Speno: Flagler museum celebrating 10 years | StAugustine.com.
The Flagler Beach Historical Museum promises another fun-filled night as they celebrate their tenth anniversary at a Roaring 20’s Gala. Read about this event and more in this week’s summary of activities going on in our community. Click on the link above or at the end of this post to read on!
Princess Place Preserve - site of Creekside Festival
And there’s more on the way. This year the Annual Creekside Festival will be combined with the Green Expo. This year marks the Seventh Annual Creekside Festival, and as always, the festivities take place at the beautiful Princess Place Preserve. There will be music, food, vendors, crafts and more. The Green Expo was previously held at Palm Coast Town Center in 2009 and 2010. This is a great combo-activity, and I am glad to see the two events joining forces. It should be a great weekend. The weather is usually amazing and in years past the music has been outstanding, so make plans to come on out and enjoy!
I have many readers that don’t live locally so you probably have never experienced the beauty of this park, but I know that your communities have lots of great amenities too. So be sure to share what’s going on in your part of the world by leaving a comment and sharing your community news.
And if you are ever in the northeast Florida region, I invite you to take in all that we have to offer here in the Northeast Region of the State of Florida. Palm Coast and Flagler County, Florida. Beaches, swimming, biking, hiking, trails, fishing and just plan relaxing — it’s all here so come on down and visit! Start learning here.
And I’d love to hear about what’s going on in your communities this fall so be sure to share with me and my other readers by leaving a comment.
Read Christine Speno: Flagler museum celebrating 10 years | StAugustine.com.
Library offers services online | StAugustine.com.
Flagler County Library, Palm Coast, Florida
What would we do without our libraries?
In these challenging economic times, our libraries do more than ever to serve us. In our community of Palm Coast, Flagler County, Florida, online services make it even easier to explore all that our library has to offer. The library today is much more than “just books.” Our library even offers a “one-stop” location for Passport Services.
Read more in this week’s column in The St. Augustine Record about what goes on at the Flagler County, Florida library.
How about your community library? Do you take the time to discover what it can do for you? And more importantly, when you use the library, do you stop and say “thank you” to all the great folks that keep our libraries running and make them a safe and friendly place to relax, explore and learn? Think about it!!
Read this week’s column by clicking here or on the link above. Thanks for visiting, and please leave me a comment!!
- Encouraging kids to learn! (wordsetcwriting.com)
- Concord Private Libraries Tour – October 1, 2011 (concordprivatelibrariestour.org)
- What’s going on in your community? (wordsetcwriting.com)
- Another column about the Flagler County library here.